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Ziryab (Birmingham)

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Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter cable by Neet® - (for Unibody MacBook - Pro - Air etc.) *** Supports New Thunderbolt Port ***
Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter cable by Neet® - (for Unibody MacBook - Pro - Air etc.) *** Supports New Thunderbolt Port ***
Offered by Neet Cables
Price: £29.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Best value, 10 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Not supplied with macbooks and you'll pay around £35 for one if you want to buy from apple. Why would you do that? Cheaper alternatives don't seem to be reliable enough, so for my money this is clearly the best bet.

Fittings are all solid, works perfectly and is well constructed. As I've said in another review, NEET make quality fittings at the best value I've found.


Neet® - FireWire 800 Cable - (2m) - 9 Pin to 9 Pin - IEEE 1394b (for Mac & PC) - 2m FLX Pro Lead
Neet® - FireWire 800 Cable - (2m) - 9 Pin to 9 Pin - IEEE 1394b (for Mac & PC) - 2m FLX Pro Lead
Offered by Neet Cables
Price: £14.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Best value I know of., 10 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's a simple bit of kit, but like all cables and adaptors I've bought from Neet, this was a quality build and the mesh cable construction is strong and flexible and the price, for this quality, is very, very reasonable. By far the best value cables I've found. Mac quality at a price that doesn't make you vow never to buy another mac as long as you live.


GAGS Macbook AIR Zipped Waterproof Neoprene BLACK Sleeve / Case / Pouch 13.3" 13"
GAGS Macbook AIR Zipped Waterproof Neoprene BLACK Sleeve / Case / Pouch 13.3" 13"
Offered by Laptop Kit UK
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too small for macbook air., 10 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Advertised specifically as fitting a macbook air, getting the zip closed around the corners would have probably damaged the zip or the computer in the long run. I sent it back.

Otherwise, if it fits your computer, it's decent quality for the price but I ended up splashing out a bit more money and getting a sleeve made from a tougher material - the neoprene used in this one would only offer fairly limited protection.


Chronique des années de sang
Chronique des années de sang
by Mohammed Samraoui
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.53

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brave, passionate, meticulous and gripping book., 19 May 2012
This book documents the horrific and ultimately successful campaign conducted by the Algerian generals in the 1990s to cling to power after the victory of the Front Islamique de Salvation in the 1991 election . Samraoui was a senior officer in the Algerian secret services and describes how the Generals conjured a the threat of islamist terror and watched as it span out of their control. The lengths to which this course of action took them, the amorality with which it was implemented and the depth of contempt for the lives of algerian citizens would scarcely be credible were it not for the volume of evidence Samraoui presents and the clarity with which he expounds it. Essentially, according to Samraoui's account, a fifth column of violent islamists were coopted, encouraged and supported to carry out the atrocities for which the Algerian war became infamous. Civilian massacres, bombings, attacks on the government organs, personnel and the military themselves, all were sponsored by a cadre of corrupt generals who had no intention of relinquishing control. Meanwhile the army itself murdered political activists of secularist and religious persuasions and was able to radicalise FIS and push it into the armed struggle. It exploited close links and probably collusion with Western intelligence agencies, particularly in France, to stoke fear of further chaos and international terrorism and to ensure support.

Published in 2003, this book forces one to think much more deeply about the relationships between islamic terror and governments in the middle east and internationally, from Algeria through the so-called "War on Terror" to the international engagement with the arab spring. Current events in Syria provide eerie and repugnant parallels to the tactics and the terrifying logic of events which Samraoui describes.

The book is as meticulously documented and argued as a legal brief and Samraoui admits to having written it in the hope that some day his testament will be used in a war crimes court. The course of global politics since its publication has provided a conveniently sterile environment for any such justice to take root and Mr Samraoui, granted political asylum in Germany, has been arrested in Spain on an Algerian extradition warrant. I hope one day his work is used for its intended purpose.


Apple iMac 21.5 inch All-In-One Desktop PC (Intel Core i5 2.7GHz Quad-Core Processor, 2X2GB RAM, 1TB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 6770M with 512MB graphics) (Launched May 2011)
Apple iMac 21.5 inch All-In-One Desktop PC (Intel Core i5 2.7GHz Quad-Core Processor, 2X2GB RAM, 1TB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 6770M with 512MB graphics) (Launched May 2011)

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great machine, some glitches, 19 April 2012
So I ordered this directly from Apple. Missed out on saving about a hundred quid but thought I might get more reliable customer service, which, as it turns out, was needed (though I know nothing about how good or bad the service of other Amazon and other stockists would have been).

I ordered the 2.7 Gz/4Gb/1Tb machine as I thought this might be more future-proof than the cheapest model, though as always with these things, a new version of OSX will come out later this year (Mountain Lion) and so I will already be one step down on the obsolescence treadmill - more of which later. I also went for the full keyboard with numeric keypad, which is wired as I can't really understand how anyone can manage without a numeric keypad. I also don't get why Apple don't make a wireless keyboard with numeric keypad, but it's not really an issue for me - wireless looks cool and clutter-free but I can't really be doing with the battery changes. Elsewhere in the options section i chose the magic mouse over the trackpad.

Works straight out of the box didn't work for me, though I have the charmingly old-fashioned view that one shouldn't have to update one's hardware every year, so was upgrading from a 2005 ibook G4. An Apple "expert" told me there would be no issues with migrating all my data.

The first problem I noticed was a chip on the inside of the screen. Apple immediately arranged a replacement to arrive before I sent the first machine back so I had no "down time". In the mean time I thought I'd try to transfer all my data over. This is when I realised that most applications on my power PC ibook would not transfer. This included a version of MS office, so an extra expenditure I didn't need after I'd just forked out for a pricey machine.

Secondly I really couldn't get on with the mouse, beautiful and dinky as it looked. Its thinness and the fact that the clickable area extends to nearly the whole top surface means that you have nowhere to rest your hand on the mouse and so have to constantly hold your hand hovering above it. Worse, the sliding surface underneath is two small metal bars which do not glide in the way most laser mouses do. They scrape across the desktop and still create unacceptable levels of fruition (to me) when I tried the with a mousepad and even a smooth sheet of acetate.

So I took advantage of the replacement to change to a magic trackpad, especially as, if I didn't get on with it, I have the brilliant logitech wireless USB mouse to fall back on. Great decision- the trackpad is just brilliant. It has a physically clickable surface which is really comfortable to use but can also be set up to tap and click and all the new gestures are incredibly useful. The trackpad, for my money, is far superior to the mouse, and I think if you look at the reviews on Amazon of the two individual items you'll see the same impression.

So, I would say, I was disappointed with the quality control, with being mislead about the ease of upgrading, and with the mouse, but very impressed with how Apple's customer service dealt with the replacement.

And as for the machine itself, now it's fully functional, it's fantastic. The trackpad makes operating a breeze.


Bangladesh: The Next Afghanistan?
Bangladesh: The Next Afghanistan?
by Hiranmay Karlekar
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hyperbole, 17 Sep 2008
The only think sadder than the rise of religious extremism in countries like Bangladesh and India is the willingness of some commentators to place all such examples in the same basket and to compare their trajectories to equally complex examples from recent history.

In his defence, Karlekar does display a fairly sound grasp of the facts of bangladeshi politics. It is his analysis which is so simplistic. He is all too eager to tick the boxes of "preconditions for Islamic meltdown". Such an exercise amounts facile, second-rate journalism and could have been done with a whole host of other moderate Islamic countries in an equally cursory way. Will some of these countries become havens of international terrorism? Possibly. Will they all? Definitely not. Are they all different, and deserving of intelligent, nuanced analysis? Absolutely.

Overall, a very poor presentation of facts to suit the author's preexisting agenda.


Winterreise
Winterreise
Offered by Music-Club
Price: £28.75

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heresy!, 23 April 2007
This review is from: Winterreise (Audio CD)
Well folks, I'm going to stick my neck out here and I'm pretty sure greater afficionados than I will disagree with me. I really love this recording. In fact, I like it better than Fischer-Dieskau, whose Winterrreise is just, well, too WARM. The clarity of this recording and the austerity of the singer and pianist to me sum up perfectly the themes of loneliness, yearning for love and domestic pleasures and the need to keep movin' on through the winter country.


Iraq
Iraq
Price: £12.93

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the world's most captivating musicians, 30 Jan 2007
This review is from: Iraq (Audio CD)
This is by far my favourite oud recording - a compliment which might sound a bit obscure. Actually it's some of my favourite music of any type. The truth is Bashir's appeal is truly universal and nobody should be put off if they're unfamiliar with arabic music or if previous forays have left them cold. He stays very true to his roots in classical arab music and the Maqaam tradition, but injencts enough of his own totally captivating musicality and personality to make it obvious that he is not just a genre leader. The excellent production of this recording really brings out the drama of his unique sound and phrasing. I have played it to friends outside of my obscure lute-wonk world and every single one loved it. Today's oudists pack plenty of fireworks but tend to be either very much within the tradition and not so appealing to first-timers, or to have 'westernised' their style or jumped on the annoying 'arab-flamenco' bandwagon. Bashir was a one-off.


Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive
by Jared M. Diamond
Edition: Paperback

34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could have used less trees., 7 Jan 2007
This is an important book and an interesting read, but I go along with the criticisms of numerous other reviewers:

* Extrapolating local and very specific cases of collapse to that of the planet as whole may have currency, but this argument remains vague. It is not clear how the mainly isolated societies he choses relate to today's globalised society. At one point he likens us on our marooned little planet to the historic Easter Islanders surrounded by ocean, but I do not find this convincing. I'm not saying we're not at risk but I would like to consider in much more depth the mechanisms which make us vulnerable at the global level and I think they are very different from any of the case studies he refers to.

* The style of argument somehow gives the sense in each case that he has already drawn the conclusion that environmental stress caused the declines to which he refers, and the facts presented are only there to lead you to that very same conclusion.

* Someone shoot the editor - Diamond's level of repetition is frankly tedious. He is a master of the cumulative conclusion, recapitulating at the end of each chapter points already made throughout the book, and tends to give you much too obvious hints of these conclusions before he has elaborated the case studies. His folksy anecdotes about his mates, his kids and, where does he live again? oh yes, LA , may be intended to make the book more immediate and accessible, but they just make him sound awkward. Overall I think a much more convincing and gripping book could have been written on a quarter of the... erm... paper.

The subject, as I said, is important, but I hope I don't sound too heretical when I say I actually don't think his conslusions are especially original. It makes a fascinating analysis to compare historical collapses, and all the mystery they engender, with contemporary ones not always looked at in the same light, and to project planetary risks onto the same reasoning. Some of the analyses are very thought-provoking. However on the whole the concept is more intriguing synthesis than cutting edge. As such it could still have been a very important book in changing world opinion, but due to the weakness of the overall conclusions and the unsatisfactory style of the argument I don't feel it succeeds here.

These may seem like pedantries and perhaps they are to a certain degree. We should be able to cope with poor writing and a lack dramatic structure when dealing with such an important issue - after all it is the end of the world we're talking about. However, the genre Mr Diamond is going for seems to be the slick, must-read that will change the way you think while entertaining you along the way, making reference to the mysteries of lost civilsations which have fascinated you for ages, thereby increasing mass appeal and swaying world opinion, or at least selling millions of copies. Its failure to really convince leaves me, at least, unsatisfied. As it appears to be succeeding on the latter criterion, I trust its sales succcess in predicated on sustainable forestry.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 9, 2010 2:05 PM BST


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